November 10, 2014

Tossed on Life’s Tide: Richard Ford’s Let Me Be Frank with You 2


For fans of these painstakingly crafted books, the revelation that Frank is existentially adrift might not be news, but it’s rare to see both Ford’s literary approach and Frank’s disconnection laid out with such brevity.

November 7, 2014

Blood Brothers: On Mike Meginnis’s ‘Fat Man and Little Boy’ 2


‘Fat Man and Little Boy’ is what it would sound like if Dylan Thomas wrote about the atomic bomb.

November 5, 2014

Shifting Anxieties: On J. Robert Lennon’s See You in Paradise 2


The stories here are very much about familial love, and all the things can go wrong for, or in, a family.

October 30, 2014

The Restless Dead: On Hadrien Laroche’s Orphans 1


In this meeting ground of living and dead, can anyone find comfort?

October 27, 2014

Home of the Brave: On Chris Walsh’s Cowardice: A Brief History 2


Cowardice is the flaw that dare not speak its name, or as Walsh wryly puts it: “Every other species of human baseness, it seems, has rated a monograph.”

October 24, 2014

The Duality of the Human Psyche: On John Lahr’s Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh 1


Lahr states in the preface that he constructed the book closer to a profile than a traditional biography. In this way, he listens to the music. Texture, seemingly improvisational moments, comes from the layering of different sounds. Elements overlap and knock up against each other.

October 23, 2014

Ruined, Old, Endless: On Blake Butler’s 300,000,000 9


Butler’s central trope has always been the idea of homes, our private Americas. But Butler’s house has many rooms. 300,000,000 is a new testament; what happens when prose becomes prophecy.

October 22, 2014

Cage Fighting Literature: Kerry Howley’s Thrown 1


I don’t care about cage fighting, ultimate fighting, MMA; Kerry Howley made me care.

October 21, 2014

An Invite to the Crush Party: Andrew Durbin’s Mature Themes 1


Mature Themes, a collection of prose, poetry, and essays—doesn’t draw a cohesive biographical character so much as barrage its reader with an array of technicolor scenes, replete with camera flashes, expensive art, and totally fictional anecdotes about celebrities.

October 20, 2014

Art After Tragedy: The Narrow Road to the Deep North 0


The strange euphemism “Prisoner of War” eventually comes to describe every character in the book.